On Wednesday—tomorrow, folks—the last of our Texas Billionaire Club romances hits the stores! And even though I only list the Amazon link below, it’s EVERYWHERE. Sis (Elle James) and I are super-excited to share it. Because, #1 – this is a story we co-wrote; #2 – it’s funny; #3 – many of the funny Army situations we write about are things that actually happened to us; and #4 – it’s the first story we EVER wrote. Of course, the original version was full of all our newbie mistakes, so it took some time for us to revise the heck out of it. Still, the story at the core of this romance was always one we loved.
So, if you love those Alpha Texas guys, love funny situations, love dogs & cats, and love to sink into a series with a group of guys who fall hard for Ms. Right, you will love Love & War. It’s a nice, long, feel-good read. And it’s sexy, have no fear!
Enjoy the excerpt below and if you haven’t already pre-ordered your copy, do so today! You’ll want to sink deep into this one!
If you leave a comment below, you’ll be entered to win one of the three prequel stories below. Happy reading! ~DD
Love & War
Sophie Keaton’s love life is a disaster. Too busy with her art gallery and weekends spent with the Army National Guard, she rarely has time for a date. Her orderly existence takes a twist when her Army National Guard unit gets a new Company Commander, Captain Gage Jenkins, who dislikes the idea of women in the Army, particularly her, and proceeds to make her weekend drill miserable. To bolster her self-esteem, Sophie finally takes her love life in hand and goes out on a date. Unfortunately, her date ends up in the emergency room with an allergic reaction to her cat. Her mooch of a brother, Bryce, feels sorry for her and offers to take her out to pick the “perfect man”. When she finds Mr. Perfect, she spends a passionate night with him, but awakens to discover that Mr. Perfect is none other than her new commanding officer!
As a member of the Texas Billionaire’s club, Gage has watched every one of his college buddies tie the knot. Although he’d met every challenge the group set in the early days, he resisted the last one—finding the perfect wife. Now, with his hands full expanding his construction business and whipping his new Army Guard command into shape, he has plenty of excuses to avoid that particular commitment. However, when he moves next door to one very attractive, very sexy woman, he finds himself deliciously distracted. When he discovers that woman is the same klutzy lieutenant he’s been dogging from day one, he’s not angry. He’s amused. And intrigued.
When the pair are challenged by their warring pets and matchmaking sergeants, the rules of Love and War get complicated…
Sophie Keaton’s boots slurped in the mud as she trudged onward, while mentally listing the numerous reasons she resented the new captain. He was autocratic, judgmental, unfeeling, overbearing… The list continued as she concentrated on putting one sore foot in front of the other to keep up with the long column of shadowy figures in front of her. Her head hurt from the weight of her helmet, and her shoulders ached from carrying the fifty-pound rucksack she had slung across her back. With her hands fully occupied carrying an M4A1 rifle, she couldn’t satisfy an itch that was beginning to grow under the elastic bands of her underwear. With each step she silently repeated her mantra, It’s all his fault!
The rain had fallen hard enough before the sun set to wash away the last trace of mosquito repellent she’d used, and a scourge of the winged creatures hovered around her, feasting on her exposed skin. The weather was unseasonably warm—even for springtime in Texas. She could feel the steam rise from the rain-soaked grass, plastering the heavy layers of her uniform to her body, and adding to her ever-increasing misery.
Her platoon’s training schedule specified an afternoon road march between the rifle range and their camp. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but the morning’s weapons qualification firing had taken longer than expected, stretching late into the afternoon.
Sophie was reaching for the field radio to request transportation to take her soldiers back to camp, when the new Company Commander, Captain Jenkins, arrived in his government-issue, desert-camouflaged HUMMV. The vehicle had the top and doors removed in deference to the heat, which made it an easy task for him to climb out in a hurry. He leaned over to say something to his driver then strode in Sophie’s direction.
She snapped to attention and executed a sharp salute, returning her arm to her side when he returned it with his more masculine, and muscular, version.
As sports romance readers, we love professional athlete characters because they are confident, fit, and capable of feats that are not possible for the rest of us. In other words, they are the closest thing we have to a real-life super-hero.
There are lots of sports romances that center on mainstream sports like football and hockey, but at the time I was drafting my debut novel, Lessons in Gravity, there were almost none that centered on the types of sports I loved and think are the sexiest: non-motorized outdoor adventure sports. (Examples: backcountry skiing, surfing, mountaineering, rafting, and mountain biking)
To me, these types of sports are the sexiest because they take athletic ability far beyond what you see in a city-sport, plus the stakes are way higher because chances of rescue are very slim if the athlete gets hurt.
Lessons in Gravity is specifically a rock-climbing sports romance. In summary:
Falling for the star of a rock climbing documentary is not a good idea, especially if you’re the filmmaking intern who will be dangling from the side of a three thousand foot cliff with a camera while he climbs Yosemite’s most treacherous spire without a rope.
(If you’ve been following the news in the past few months, the “climbs Yosemite’s most treacherous spire without a rope” part might sound familiar. In June, the esteemed professional rock climber Alex Honnold stunned the whole world when he climbed Yosemite National Park’s 3,000-foot El Capitan cliff, yes, without a rope. It was crazy. And amazing.)
So, what’s sexy about rock climbing? Let’s hear it straight from April, the heroine of Lessons in Gravity, as she secretly watches the hero, Josh Knox, climbing on a boulder in their campground.
His deep focus was inherently dramatic, and she could see that this, thousands of feet in the air and set against some of the amazing vistas that supposedly existed in Yosemite, would make for some stunning cinematography.
Climbing might be a bizarre sport, but she had to admit, it was also a little sexy. The height. The fearlessness. The confidence. The apparent impossibility of it all.
Another sexy aspect of rock climbing and other adventure sports is that the athletes are reminiscent of the fearless explorers of yesteryear, like Amelia Earhart, Lewis and Clark, or Vikings. In the words of Josh Knox:
All the continents have been discovered, the West has been won, the wilderness has been mapped. To climb new routes is to explore a final frontier, and it’s one of the few things left in this world where your survival is based solely on your skill. It’s deeply satisfying. Climbing an old route a different way is also a new frontier. It’s a new frontier of skill. An evolution of what is physically possible.
Let’s get a conversation going in comments: Which sport do you think is sexiest? Also, have you ever tried rock climbing, and if not, would you ever?
I will soon be releasing news about my next book, which is set in the same world as Lessons in Gravity but with an exciting, foreign setting and a female pro athlete. My email list subscribers are always the first to know details such as these, and I’d be thrilled if you’d consider joining up!
If you happen to be a reader who lives in Canada or Australia, Lessons in Gravity is on sale on Kobo for one week at 75% off, so go grab it before the price goes back up!
Lessons in Gravity
All eyes are on Josh Knox…
Fearless. Guarded. Cut-to-perfection. Daredevil rock climber. The best in the world.
This time he’s poised to scale Yosemite’s notoriously treacherous Sorcerer Spire, with Walkabout Media & Productions filming every move.
April Stephens’s dream to be a documentary filmmaker rests on her acing her internship with Walkabout, and that means getting the abrasive Josh to give her more than one-word answers in his interviews.
The problem is, with every step forward professionally, she and Josh are also taking a step forward personally, and after watching her stunt pilot father die in a fiery crash, a guy who risks his life for a living is the last person she should be falling for. Especially because in one month her internship will have them dangling three thousand feet in the air from the side of the Sorcerer. She’ll be filming. He’ll be climbing without a rope.
Megan Westfield has dabbled in many hobbies and pastimes over the years, ranging from playing the cello to cake decorating (i.e., icing-eating) to a dozen different outdoor adventure sports. Eventually, she discovered the only way to do it all was though writing—her first and strongest passion. She grew up in Washington state, attended college in Oregon, and lived in Virginia, California, and Rhode Island during her five years as a navy officer. Megan is now a permanent resident of San Diego where she and her husband count family beach time with their two young kids as an adventure sport.
Note from Denysé: I’ll pick a random comment and send the winner a copy of the set, too. Winner will be picked tomorrow by noon!
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This particular set of stories came about as the World Romance Writers chatted about themes for future sets after the best-selling debut set, Letterbox Love Stories. We wanted to do something a little more exotic and add a touch of suspense, so the idea of tales set in Africa was born. I’ve long been a lover of the movie Casablanca, and wanted to try something in a similar vein to the movie. So, with a tip of the hat to that classic movie, I hope you enjoy a peek at this one–the first in a series of stories with this set of characters because I know their adventure is just beginning…
In late 1942, Casablanca, an undercover French operative is given information vital to the alliance, and it’s now up to her to get the microfilm to someone who can insure it’s turned over to the Allies. Isabeau Renault has kept her cover in place for many months in Casablanca, and probably saved countless lives because of her activities. But, with the resistance being choked by the Nazi stranglehold, will she be able to get the most important intelligence she’s ever held safely out of Casablanca, or will she die trying? It all hinges now on the owner of a popular café, an American named Cade Maddox, a man few know anything about, but who appears to have a friendly relationship with the Prefect of Police, and several German officers.
“Cassi, I need to talk to you.”
Cade Maddox’s voice dug into her brain.
“I will join you at the bar, Monsieur,” she repeated. “In five minutes!”
The rapid, muted voices that followed her assured her the maid, Diata, was living up to her fierce name, the lion. She sat at her dressing table and took quick inventory of her hair and makeup. Dark, curling tendrils escaped the elaborate style and she twisted them back into place and tucked pins into the coils. She picked up a brush and dusted darkly tinted powder across her cheeks, peering closely at her reflection. She barely recognized herself these days, but it kept her alive and unnoticed among the citizens of Casablanca.
Gathering her wits, she took a deep breath and stood. Eluding Maddox was more draining than it should be, but something about the man got under her skin and made her jittery. The man was impressive, six feet plus in height, dark eyes, tanned skin, he looked at home in Casablanca, though she knew he was American by birth. Braced for the on-going deception, she stepped into the narrow hallway and walked to the main area of the café, her casual manner wholly feigned. Inside she was shaking in her sandals as she prepared to dodge Cade Maddox and his too shrewd eyes.
“What brings you here, Monsieur? You’re usually holding court at the Stardust this time of the evening.” She sat at the small corner table he’d chosen, the strategic position not escaping her notice. From here the entire main room could be watched, while the wall at his back assured no one could approach him unnoticed.
Maddox smiled. He looked like a wolf who’d just scented prey.
“I was planning to lure your dancer away to work for me,” he said. “Jolene keeps running them off just when the Germans get used to them.”
“How unfortunate for you.” She shook her head when the bartender began to approach the table with a drink for her. He shrugged and headed back for customers who did want to drink.
“Why don’t you drop in this evening,” Cade suggested. “I’m expecting company that might interest you.”
“And why do you think your company would interest me?”
She hadn’t made eye contact with him since sitting down, and he clearly hadn’t missed the ruse. He’d told her on more than one occasion that she intrigued him, and because of it, he was determined to discover what she was hiding. For his sake, she prayed he never did!
For a moment silence hung between them. A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth, and he nodded. “Drop by this evening, you might enjoy yourself.”
“I’m busy this evening,” she told him, “if things get boring here I’ll consider your offer.” The scrape of the chair moving indicated he’d left his seat. A slight displacement of air seconds later and he was gone, footsteps so careful they were soundless. Maddox was an enigma she had no time to figure out, he could be dangerous to her. Before she could think too much about it the bartender shouted her name and it was time to get back to business.
As the evening wore on, Isabeau wondered if Cade could be trusted. The question plagued her as she went about her business, serving drinks, flashing a false smile, and presenting yourself as the perfect hostess. This was a job she could do in her sleep, she’d been in Casablanca for several months, even the false face she wore had become much too familiar. And much too comfortable. Her intuition had often saved her so she rarely disregarded it, and against all good sense she knew Cade Maddox was someone she was going to need if she expected to escape with her life.
In my neck of the woods, today’s going to be a scorcher. The kind of heat where you don’t bother with makeup and you wear those shorts, no matter how unflattering. Even the pool won’t be refreshing, because it’s going to feel like bath water. Bleh.
So, if you’re stuck inside, like me, and wondering what to do, I have two suggestions…
Find some new music. I’ll start you out with one of my favorite, latest finds. This is a group out of Iceland, of all places. If you like a bluesy tune with growling vocals, like I do, maybe you’ll love this, too! Listen, while you solve the puzzle below!
And after you solve this puzzle, maybe you’ll be tempted to read it! Do you like a funny, sweet, HAWT read when you’re stuck inside with nothing to do? Uh-huh, you’re welcome! ~ DD
UPDATE: The winner of the free story is…Gayle Lazur!
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Do you love cowboy menage stories? Love it when brothers are involved? How about the added taboo of the brothers going after their teacher? Well, I have a story that you will find very naughty, but surprisingly sweet. Two Wild for Teacher releases in one week—July 28th! It’s one of the stories I got back from Samhain when they closed their doors. I’ve revised it, given it a new cover, and now it’s ready for prime time!
Read the first chapter below! Even though it’s #6 in the series, the only story I’d say you need to read before Two Wild is #5, Four-Gone Conclusion!
For a chance to win one of the stories in this naughty-fun series, one of those currently out—see the six covers below—answer me this:
Tell me the name of your favorite Western movie or TV series!
(click on these covers to learn more about the stories!)
And now…Two Wild for Teacher!
Lone Star Lovers, Book 6
Two bad boy cowboys need a little tutoring to learn how to love…
Fathers know to keep their daughters close whenever Sam Logan’s twin sons come to town. Those two hell-raisers have a bad rep in Two Mule, Texas. All of it earned. When it becomes clear his youngest sons won’t settle down without another nudge, Sam reissues his challenge. Find a wife…
There’s only been one woman who could hold their attention for more than one night, but she’s been out of reach. Their former teacher’s a little too worried about a pesky morals clause to let them close. But they’re older now and ready to prove to her that sometimes rules are meant to be broken…
Molly Pritchet thinks her path is predetermined: to always be a child’s teacher, never a mother or a wife. Until the two boys who tempted her way back when crash back into her life. Overwhelmed by yearnings she’s long suppressed, she’s swept along on a tide of forbidden desires.
Sam Logan couldn’t sleep. He had one last chore to take care of. One he’d been putting off. No time like now to get ’er done.
He walked softly on bare feet down the long hallway, past the master bedroom he’d given up when Johnny married Ellie and moved both his new wife and his brother Killian into the large room to share it. He shook his head, a glimmer of a smile tugging at his mouth. Sounds that hadn’t been heard in this old house in over three long years echoed up and down the hallway.
Sexy sounds—happy sighs and laughter, slick slaps, an occasional yelp from Ellie. He could only imagine what his two oldest boys were doing to the girl. But they all seemed happy with the arrangement, and both men were gaga for Mean Ellie Harker. Who would have thought one simple pronouncement would produce such lightning-fast results?
Do you love reunion stories? I do. Especially when the couple faces great odds to get back together. It could be family issues, different backgrounds, or the infamous “We were on a break!” line that Ross kept spouting on Friends, much to Rachel’s chagrin (until the very end). But whatever it is, when two people that have allowed their soul to trust another human being on the deepest level find the courage and the strength to make their way back to that original realization despite genuinely tough times – I’m a mess. A happy, story-fulfilled, blubbering mess.
And with that, I introduce you to Dare and Abby from Real Deep, the second book of my REAL MEN series. These two have been through a lot! Abby’s from Money (with a capital M), Dare isn’t. Yet he’s the only one who’s ever ‘seen’ her. And for his part, no one’s ever been there for Dare before, either. So in the backstory, when they break up, it’s a tragedy.
But there’s something about being stuck on a practically deserted tropical island that strips away the rest and brings out only the gold…
If you like reunion stories, I’m betting you’ll want to take the journey with Dare and Abby, two of my very favourite characters.
And as an added benefit, Real Deep is another exciting installment of the Real Men series. This series introduces readers to the brotherhood of a group of men who have bonded through serving as army reservists in various location. They’re connect to the fictional town of Jack’s Bay in northern Ontario as well as the fictional town of Golden, British Columbia.
Today, I’m giving away one copy of Real Deep to a randomly chosen commenter below! All you need to do is: Follow me on Amazon and…take your pick of: signing up for my newsletter or following me on the social media of your choice. Let me know in the comments what you chose. Giveaway ends on Sunday at midnight, so let all your friends know!
See you August 7th, folks! And I should have more information about a new, special, summer of 2017 release!
Real Men #2
Deserted tropical island, hunky male models. Sole female photographer. Everything is on track for Abby Haines to please her sleazy boss and win the make-or-break photography contest of the year so she can prove herself to the wealthy parents who’ve disowned her, keep the career she loves, and oh yeah. Eat.
That is, until the past love of her life shows up. The scumbag.
Part-time solider and handyman extraordinaire Dare Logan gets things done. But life just ratcheted up a few degrees for the guy from the wrong side of the track. If he doesn’t kowtow to the creepy shoot director, he can’t save his fledgling renovation business and take care of his mom and sister. And now he’s got to deal with Abby—the woman who broke his heart, proving that what he could provide for her wasn’t enough. Super.
But when they’re sent on a dangerous trek across the island and fate plays with their deeply-entrenched principles and worse, their hearts, choices will have to be made, and the stakes are no longer simple.
A new, small town military romance series. Featuring full-length stories and meet-cutes. Read the entire series to fall in love with the men of Jack’s Bay!
Susan Saxx writes sexy, unexpected, heartwarming romances. Her REAL MEN series focuses on a band of Canadian military reservists and the strong women they fall in love with. Meet the cowboy, the ex-hockey player and more at her website, and join her mailing list for exclusive teaser stories and release updates!
As I’m writing this blog, I’m not writing my book MONTANA SEAL DADDY. I know, I know. I need to finish it by the end of this week, and I will. But I also need to let you know what’s coming up. Next Tuesday is the rerelease of MACK’S WITNESS. This book first came out under my Myla Jackson pen name, but it didn’t sell worth a crap because it was really an Elle James book. All about romantic suspense, adventure and military heroes. My Myla Jackson books are usually based around the Ugly Stick Saloon, fun, funny and sexy. Yeah, I confused my readers and they weren’t buying it from Myla. Now that I have the rights back from Samhain, I know you’ll love MACK’S WITNESS. I loved writing this book because I got to put a lot of my trip to Ireland in this story. From running into Irish Gypsies (called Travelers) to staying in a castle bed and breakfast with its sassy proprietress. I hope to start writing book #3 soon, Ronin’s Return. I’m setting it in Venice, another place I visited and loved.
If you haven’t preordered your copy of MACK’S WITNESS, hurry! It comes out next Tuesday!
Passion leads to danger on the Emerald Isle…
Tired of eating sand and dodging bullets, Marine Captain Mack Magnus is ready to relax and enjoy his brother’s Dublin wedding. A few pints in a quaint Irish pub and the company of a pretty Irish lass, all the better. Instead he winds up getting ordered around by the cousin of the bride. Fed up with her mouthy attitude, he kisses her to shut her up. Now he has a new mission: get into the sexy redhead’s panties.
Busy international model Deirdre Darcy knows the six-foot-four Marine’s type: hit-and-run sex and off to the next port. Fall into bed with an arrogant bastard like Mack? No thanks. When she stumbles upon a couple of Irish gypsies leaving a murder scene, she must go into hiding or become their next victim.
His protective instincts kicking into high gear, Mack whisks Deirdre away to a small town where it’s easier to keep her safe. Except there’s no escape from their growing attraction—or from the one thing neither of them thought they wanted. Love.
I’ll be in Orlando when MACK’S WITNESS comes out at the Romance Writers of America National Convention. In fact, I’ll be listening to an Air Force Parajumper talk about how they rescue downed pilots. More fodder for more stories! And on Wednesday, LOVE & WAR releases! Again, I’ll be busy in workshops and meeting with editors and other authors. It’ll be a busy week in Orlando. I look forward the party Harlequin always has where I’ll be recognized for my 50th Harlequin book. When I get home on Sunday, I’ll have 2 days to repack and jump on plane to Ottawa, Canada for the Romancing the Capital conference with Eve Langlais. I’ll be there from 2-6 August and then my husband will join me for some sightseeing in Canada until the 15th. Holy smokes! I’m so excited. I also hope to tour Harlequin’s headquarters in Toronto on that trip. Watch my FB. I’ll post pictures of my adventures!